Gender Equality and Family-Friendly Policies.
All participating institutions have an explicit commitment to support gender equality and work-life balance. Both universities, GU Frankfurt and JGU Mainz, are devoting significant efforts to encourage and implement these policies. As a result of promoting gender equality opportunities, both universities have been acknowledged with the Total E-quality Award on several occasions. In addition, GU has received the highest rating within the DFG’s Research-Oriented Standards on Gender Equality (“Forschungsorientierte Gleichstellungsstandards”) in 2011 and 2013. In line with the institutional policies, all members of the CRC1080 have a strong commitment to support gender equality and family friendliness. As an example, Julijana Gjorgjieva (associated member) is the deputy officer of the equal opportunity assistance at the MPI Brain Research.
Specific measures to promote gender equal opportunity
According to the most recent study in 2016 from the EU, gender inequality is a persistent problem at higher levels of the scientific career. These data show that women made up 47% of PhD graduates in the EU but reached only 33% of researchers and 21% of top-level researchers. It is even lower at the level of heads of institutions with a mere 20% (source: gender equality policy, EU). In awareness of the need of equality policies, the participating institutions have adopted specific measures in order to promote female scientists in all stages of their career.
The Mentoring Hessen Network “Frauen in Wissenschaft und Wirtschaft” has been organized to combine previous mentoring programs such as “SciMento, “ProProfessur” and “MentorinnenNetzwerk”. This organisation offers to female scientists a comprehensive set of mentoring programs for different career stages and career goals (link): "ProCareer.MINT" is aimed at students of the MINT subjects who are oriented towards business; "ProCareer.Doc" is open to doctoral students and Postdocs from all subjects who, in their individual career orientation, are also more interested to take paths outside of Universities; "ProAcademia" supports female Postdocs who have already decided on a scientific career and "ProProfessur" offers targeted support for female scientists on their way to the professorship. In addition, GU organizes various workshops and coaching for female researchers at different career stages as well as gender and diversity trainings for different target groups. GU’s equal opportunity office, antidiscrimination center and family service (link) provide further support through counselling regarding support structures for women, cases of discrimination and the reconciliation of family and work. GU is also a member of the Dual Career Network Metropolitan Region Rhine-Main and Dual Career Service Frankfurt supports partners of new employees pursuing their own career perspectives in the area by providing individual counselling in aspects such as job market, job application process and professional orientation and career planning. In the MPI, there is network Minerva-FemmeNet for female scientists at the Max Planck Society, which was set up at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysics in Frankfurt in early 2001. This network aims at using the experience of highly qualified female scientists -including former employees at Max Planck Institutes - to the benefit of young women scientists at the institute through a mentoring relationship.
In Mainz, the Ada-Lovelace (link) program at the JGU provides support to young female scientists that pursue the goal of a professorship with a training system of mentorship. The UMC Mainz offers the program MeMentUm (link) which is specifically addressed to female physicians and scientists at an early stage of their career on their way to a professorship position. The program consists of coaching, career planning, individual mentoring and research training. Anne Sinning (A01) is a mentee of this program. Another JGU program, ProWeWin (link) is addressed to young females of all scientific disciplines at the late stage of their PhD and postdocs. It involves mentoring, networking and training in soft skills. Additionally, the JGU offers scholarships for young research female scientists, such as the award for young female scholars with exceptional qualifications (50% E13), postdoc positions (75-100% E13), and scholarships for women who wish to return to an academic career. The UMC Mainz also annually offers the Dagmar Eisner-Prize for an outstanding scientific publication of a female researcher.
Despite the past and ongoing efforts, currently only 25% of professorial positions are filled by women (in 2018) in the universities of Mainz and Frankfurt. At GU Frankfurt, the “Gender Equality and Diversity Action Plan 2019-2024” has been developed to transparently describe all measures that will be implemented to achieve a significant improvement. Similarly, at UMC Mainz, a Gender Equality Plan 2018-24 was passed which formulates distinct goals and also describes different measures to further improve gender equality. This plan will be evaluated in 2021.
Evidentally, there is a “leak” in the pipeline of achieving senior positions for women, since there is an imbalanced drop out of females while going up the career stages. One of the difficulties on pursuing a scientific career for women is the care of infants in combination with demanding time dedication to scientific work.
JGU and UMC Mainz offer more than 600 places for children between 0 and 6+ years of age. At GU Frankfurt, 391 places for children between 0 and 6+ years are available with priority access for children of GU’s students and employees. The GU has been rated “family-friendly” by the Hertie-Stiftung from 2005 until 2018. Childcare facilities are located at the different campuses, including the Kita “Unistrolche” (95 places) at the UMC campus in Niederrad. At the campus Riedberg, the Kita
"Zauberberg" on the Riedberg Campus provided support for 30 children between the ages of 6 months to 7 years in mixed age groups. However, to cover the growing needs on the Riedberg campus, childcare facilities have been extended in June 2015 by a new kindergarten (Kita Kairos) with space for 135 children of university members as well as members of the MPI Brain Research.
Additionally, a childcare facility with 11 places for children from 6 month to 3 years of age (Krabbelstube UNIversum) is available on the Bockenheim Campus. Taking into account the requirements of the scientific disciplines, GU also offers flexible childcare (“Betreutes Kinderzimmer”) and holiday camps for school children. The faculty of medicine at GU has established a network “Studieren mit Kindern”, which aims at bringing students and young scientists (e.g., graduate students, young postdocs) with children together. This facilitates the help in emergencies or demanding schedules. This network has been formally institutionalized, and a position is financed by the university to help young families (link) and sustain the network. Moreover, GRADE also provides financial support in form of fellowships to doctorate students with children.
At the UMC Mainz, three childcare facilities are available with a priority access for UMC students and employees; Villa Nees (60 places), Kita Zahlbach (149 places; soon 158 places), and the Unimediminis (40), offering day care for children between 9 weeks and 7 years. At the JGU Campus, six childcare facilities are present with 394 places (Campulino, Weltenentdecker, Sprosslinge, stadtische Kindertagesstatte, Sausewind, Elterninitiative UniBunt). A Family Service Bureau could be established in 2019 at the UMC, offering support and organizing additional child care facilities as well as counselling in cases of caring for relatives. In addition, the family service office of the JGU Mainz can mediate childcare (Tagesmutter) in emergency cases or when scientists attend conferences. Childcare offers also include different holiday camps for children of students and employees of the JGU.